A group home refers to a living accommodation option for individuals with certain forms of disabilities. Such homes have proven to be ideal and beneficial to persons or individuals who do not require advanced medical care but also cannot safely live alone.
Note that the sort of care in a group home setting ensures that residents can get the necessary support in a community setting without sacrificing their independence.
The design and size of group homes vary; however, they are known to be quite smaller especially when put in comparison with long-term care facilities. Most often, they include shared spaces for residents, whereas bedrooms may be private or shared with a roommate.
Designing group homes includes choosing the right floor plan, the appropriate ambiance as well as other things like furniture. Ensure to take your time to visit other group homes, and don’t forget to take notes regarding the things that work and what don’t work.
Remember to reach out to administrators at group homes to get their opinions on parking, drop-off, pick-up areas, and living spaces. Also, evaluate all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act comprehensively with your architect or builder.
What Does a Group Home Looks Like?
Just as was noted above, a group home refers to a living accommodation option for individuals with certain forms of disabilities. It is imperative to note that the exact design of a group home will most often vary based on its purpose and the population it serves. Nevertheless, below are the basic features of a group home;
1. Building Structure
Truth be told, there is no single building structure that suitably fits a group home. In the United States, group homes have been established in various types of buildings such as houses, apartment complexes, or specially constructed facilities.
However, note that the exact size or specifications of the building will also vary, but will most often be adequate to house at least 12 residents.
This is another very common feature of a group home. Have it in mind that each resident will more or less have their own private or semi-private bedroom, and this will most often encompass basic living furnishings like a bed, chair, and sometimes a desk.
You will also find group homes where residents are expected to share bedrooms, especially when they prefer or require close supervision.
3. Common Areas
Group homes also tend to feature shared spaces that ensure that residents can conveniently come together, relax, and engage in activities together. Most often, these buildings have common areas like living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, or even recreational spaces.
4. Facilities and Amenities
This feature tends to vary from one group home to another and will depend on the sort of services the group home offers and its working capital.
Group homes that cater to the needs of seniors or those with disabilities will need to possess wheelchair-accessible features, grab bars, or specialized equipment. You will also find that modern group homes include laundry facilities, workout zones, or gardens.
5. Staff Offices
Every group home will have staff that are meant to help with everyday activities and operations of the group home. These staff are properly trained to ensure that the needs of residents are properly met and that the group home runs efficiently.
Owing to that, most group homes feature offices or workstations where staff members can conduct administrative tasks, documentation, and meetings.
6. Safety Measures
Group homes are more or less a living accommodation option for individuals who do not require advanced medical care but also cannot safely live alone.
It means that group homes are always expected to take the security and safety of their residents very seriously. Owing to that, you will most definitely find that group homes have security measures that include locked entrances, surveillance systems, and emergency response protocols.
Although the sort of security measures a group home employs will depend on the demographic it caters to, you might also find some with alarms or monitoring systems.
Tips to Consider When Designing a Group Home
Truth be told, there are numerous factors to take into consideration when designing a Group Home. To ensure that you can make the right decisions, here are factors to take into consideration;
1. Apartment-style design
Experts have always reiterated the importance of designing a facility that looks more like a high-end apartment complex than a standard group home.
Have it in mind that seniors in this modern age will always prefer to live in senior care facilities not just because they provide a more advanced level of care, but because they are designed to be more comfortable. Always remember that group homes that mimic an apartment will always attract more residents.
2. Floor plans should encourage movement
Group homes in prior times tend to be designed with the intention to limit movement between private rooms and common areas as much as possible. However, at this age, there is a great need to increase mobility and decrease the possibility of physical disabilities especially if the group home houses seniors.
Owing to that, a more movement-driven design is the new normal. Note that this entails longer hallways, larger rooms, plenty of outdoor space, and even the incorporation of a gym.
3. Clear separation between public and private spaces
In this modern era, family members of residents and sometimes residents themselves tend to worry about the dignity and privacy they have while living in a group home. Teens and most seniors are always concerned about their privacy and are always eager to maintain as much of their independence as is safely possible.
Have it in mind that if they perceive the notion that your facility doesn’t possess the sort of private space that enables them to receive assistance with personal tasks or ask sensitive questions regarding their health, it might actually discourage them.
As such, consider a design that separates care facilities from living spaces completely. If you can, design separate buildings for nursing rooms and apartments, or find a way to make both reasonably far apart from each other.
4. Emphasize the kitchen as a community area
This is indeed another very important tip to take into account. It is essential you consider a group home design that ensures that your kitchen can serve as a central community area, as against just a standard visitation or common room. Note that the idea is to ensure that your communal kitchen can help to promote engagement and activity.
It also means that your employees can host cooking classes here, have residents make meals for members of their community, as well as give room for visiting family members to help their loved ones prepare favorite recipes. Indeed, this establishes a home-like atmosphere and cultivates collaboration and communication between residents.
5. Make spaces flexible and versatile
When designing a group home, it is essential you take into consideration the need for flexible rooms and spaces. Aside from the obvious benefits it offers, have it in mind that flexible spaces ensure that you can save money on building costs.
Consider inculcating things such as movable walls, multi-purpose rooms, and rooms that can be conveniently reconfigured for community events. Things like this will also give room for your home to make more money because residents and families can even rent out these rooms to celebrate a birthday, host an event or party, and more.
Today’s group homes tend to focus on creating a community-based environment that helps to cultivate a sense of independence, offers home-like living spaces, and leverages the surrounding areas to its benefit. However, to make that happen, it is important you understand the biggest trends in the group housing industry.
Take your time to discover the kinds of designs that draw in residents and their families, enable you to benefit from the space you already have, and provide your building with the sort of reputation that will ensure you attain success.